The Private Enterprises Federation (PEF) has called for the promotion of family-friendly policies to support workers experiencing an increased childcare burden and ensure gender equality and women empowerment.
The Federation has called for stakeholder discussions to adopt measures to change social norms about childcare responsibilities and address gender stereotypes that inhibited women’s progress.
Mrs Eunice Ansah, the Finance Manager, PEF, made the call on Tuesday at a forum to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, organised by the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD).
She said business entities and organisations must give equal opportunities to both men and women to contribute their fair share and benefit equally to achieve sustainable growth.
Mrs Ansah said women’s equality at the workplace would not only improve the prospects of millions of women but have a profound impact on the development of countries.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic was deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems, especially of women, the poor and the disabled in society.
Research shows that the COVID-19 shock is likely to place a disproportionate burden on women. Unlike regular recession, the pandemic downturn is likely to reduce employment in sectors where women make up a large fraction of the workplace in the hospitality and tourism industry.
Mrs Ansah said it was crucial to step up support for women and that the private sector had a key role to play in preventing the gender gap from widening.
The private sector’s role, Mrs Ansah said, in advancing gender equality was to ensure financial inclusion at the top of priorities within the Sustainable Development Goals framework.
She said the private sector should influence the creation of gender-responsive business practices, stimulate best practice models and showcase existing businesses that were focused on women’s economic empowerment.
Mr Tetteh Ephraim Kwablah, a Representative of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said the Ministry would continue to prioritise women issues for national development.
He said government had drafted policy to address gender-based violence, issues of unemployment among women with disability and vulnerable people, and ensure equal distribution of incentives to the citizenry.
Government provided food and shelter to head porters in the country during the lockdown period to improve livelihoods and reduce sufferings, Mr Kwablah said.
Madam Alice Appiah, the Chair, GFD Gender Committee, called for a stakeholder discussion to address discrimination among women with disability, which affected their development, and called on the authorities to provide support and legislation to ensure their improvement and well-being.
Mr Kwadwo Oteng Owusu, the National Coordinator, Civil Society Organisations Platform on SDGs, said the Platform had raised GHc119,712.62 in support of street children, the aged, widows, mental health institutions and persons with disability.
He called on CSOs to have an accurate data on the location of women with disability and the vulnerable for proper targeting and support.